Investigators are still trying to find out what sparked last month’s fire that destroyed buildings on Water Street in Gardiner.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said in a message left Wednesday that the cause of the fire was still under investigation. Grimes did not say whether investigators have had a chance to speak to all of the tenants.

Meanwhile, the community continues to offer financial support to the victims. A spokesman at the United Way of Kennebec Valley said more than $23,000 has been raised so far with more money coming in every day. Fundraising events, including a supper at the Boys & Girls Club and a benefit concert scheduled for Aug. 13, are expected to push that total even higher.

The July 16 fire destroyed the building at 235 Water St., where the fire started, and damaged two others on either side of it, including 247 Water St., and 227 Water St., home to Gerard’s Pizza. The future of the buildings at 235 and 247 Water Street remain uncertain, but Jeff McCormick, owner of Gerard’s Pizza, is reportedly still making repairs and cleaning up in hopes of reopening. McCormick said in email Thursday that he was unsure exactly when the pizza shop would reopened, but hopes it will be soon.

Roughly a dozen people who lived at 235 Water St. lost essentially everything in their homes, and a tattoo studio that had opened at 247 Water St. a couple weeks before the fire lost thousands of dollars worth of equipment and had just sunk thousands of dollars more in renovations. The owners of another tattoo shop that opened on the first floor of 235 Water St. the day before the fire also lost thousands of dollars in equipment, none of which was insured.

One tenant was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and three firefighters suffered minor injuries when they were hit by falling bricks.


Community organizations and businesses continue to raise money to help the victims. Patrick Wright, director of the Gardiner Main Street program, said a waterfront concert already scheduled for 6 p.m. on Aug. 13 will now be used to honor the more than 100 firefighters who helped fight the fire and raise more money for the victims.

“The public is invited to stand with these everyday heroes to show our appreciation for all that they do,” Wright said.

The outdoor concert, organized by directors of Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center, will feature the bluegrass and rock band Tricky Britches. Wright said several local businesses and community groups plan to provide a meal to the firefighters. Food also will be available for purchase.

Proceeds for the event will go to the Gardiner Fire Relief Fund.

Those who wish to make a donation may drop off or mail a check to the Kennebec Valley United Way at 121 Commercial St., Augusta, ME 04330. Write “Gardiner Fire” in the memo line.

For more information call the Gardiner Main Street program at 582-3100.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: